Assistive technology and the 1:1 student — from by Andrew Marcinek


A Transformative Experience
Meaghan recalls her first moments with the iPad and how she and her liaison discovered the variety of new opportunities that this one device presented. One of the first things she used was the ability to invert the colors of the screen. The iPad gives users the opportunity to read predominantly black text on a lighter screen, or to invert the colors and overlay white text on a black screen. This one feature, Meaghan recalls, was “transformative” in her learning of what the iPad could offer her educational experience.

Aside from the color inversion, Meaghan utilizes the VoiceOver feature that will read any selected text on the screen, and the Zoom feature that requires a double-tap of three fingers.

Beyond the simple flip of a switch in the accessibility options, Meaghan soon found many new opportunities for her learning on this one device.

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee via flickr


Today: Find me a weather channel. Tomorrow: Find me a channel on how to learn algrebra. By Daniel Christian



The voice control functions of the Easy Remote app are powered by the AT&T Watson? speech recognition technology using AT&T’s Speech API, which uses advanced natural language processing to recognize and understand spoken words. Also developed in AT&T Labs, AT&T Watson? speech recognition technology has been powering advanced speech services in the marketplace for many years and is now available for third-party developers to use in their own apps.

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Web-based digital storytelling tools and online interactive resources — from Danny Maas at

Underlying beliefs:

  • Learning happens socially and through language
  • Expressing ideas through multiple forms of media can enhance and deepen the meaning-making process
  • Children benefit from opportunities to share what they know and how they feel in creative ways
  • Sharing ideas and understanding in the form of a story helps with memory retention and sense-making
  • Technology can offer learning opportunities consistent with a Universal Design for Learning environment:
    • Multiple means of representation (taking in information)
    • Multiple means of expression (sharing back knowledge)
    • Multiple means of engagement (motivation for learning)

E-Learning expands for special-needs students — from by Nirvi Shah
But obstacles to greater participation remain, and questions persist about what works best for students with disabilities.

Universal Design for Learning: Meeting the needs of all students — from by Patricia Kelly Ralabate


Universal Design for Learning and Online Education — from
Re: event to be held on November 17, 2011 :: 1:00 – 2:45 p.m. EST


Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at a glance -- video

My thanks to Mrs. Krista Spahr, Calvin College, for this resource and the quote below:

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is meant to minimize barriers and to maximize learning.


Reflections from DSC:
Though I still have much to learn about Universal Design for Learning (UDL), my initial thought is that I really like this approach, as it moves us away from the one-size-fits-all approach and towards a teaching and learning environment that offers more choice, more selection, and more opportunities for customization and personalization. Plus, as companies such as Apple and Microsoft have seen, functionality that started out trying to address accessibility-related needs ended up helping everyone!

Along these lines, I created this graphic years ago — with the idea that students would have a choice on which media they might prefer to use to absorb the information:


Again, the idea being that we could provide the same content in 3-5 different ways and let the students select what works best for them. Plus, in the example above, we could even see how other students are describing/making meaning of something.

But it goes further than this as I’m understanding UDL. For example, the methods for achieving a learning outcome can be greatly varied, as the assignments for a particular outcome might be reaching via watching a video clip, or reading a book, or doing a project, or writing a story, or creating music, or ___(fill in the blank) ____.

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Guidelines for UDL

Interactive streaming video technology from Stanford - Summer 2011

Stanford researchers designed software that allows a viewer to zoom and pan while streaming online courses. They recently released the code to the public.

Universal Design for Learning: It’s Not Just for Disability Experts Anymore (The Confessions of a First-Time Teacher) — from National Collaborative on Workforce & Disability for Youth (NCWD/Youth) by Amy Katzel


All students, with or without disabilities, have different strengths and weaknesses. Early on, it was clear to me that I had a wide range of abilities in the room. Some students started out unable to consistently construct full sentences, while others were already writing complex prose. Some students raised their hand frequently to answer questions, while others preferred to stay quiet. When we did reading assignments during class, everyone read at different speeds. Some youth demonstrated they understood the material on quizzes, but then struggled with applying those concepts to their essays.

When I get up in front of the class, to which student am I teaching?

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Here are two online-based modules from the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) regarding Universal Design for Learning (UDL):

These two free online modules introduce the theory, principles and application of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to teachers and teacher candidates. The modules, each four to six hours in length, can be used in graduate and undergraduate education courses, professional development, consulting activities, and as a resource for educators across the country.

Module One, Introduction to UDL, offers an overview of UDL by addressing the three principles of UDL, the connection of UDL to neuroscience, and the impact of UDL on curriculum.

Module Two, Applying UDL to Lesson Development, provides practice applying the UDL principles and guidelines to instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments.


About CAST:

CAST is a nonprofit research and development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through Universal Design for Learning.

Founded in 1984 as the Center for Applied Special Technology, CAST has earned international recognition for its innovative contributions to educational products, classroom practices, and policies. Its staff includes specialists in education research and policy, neuropsychology, clinical/school psychology, technology, engineering, curriculum development, K-12 professional development, and more.


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© 2022 | Daniel Christian